For more than a decade, Franco has partnered with The Salvation Army for the annual Bed & Bread Club Radiothon started by Radio Hall of Famer Dick Purtan to raise funds for The Salvation Army’s Bed & Bread program. The inaugural Radiothon – held in 1988 during Purtan’s fifth year with WKQI-FM in Detroit – raised $15,000 in just four hours. Over the last 32 years, the Radiothon has raised more than $35 million, allowing the Bed & Bread program to feed and shelter metro Detroiters every single day of the year. Today, the Radiothon serves as the sole funding source for this feeding and sheltering lifeline.
Each year, Franco’s support of The Salvation Army’s Radiothon encompasses an evolving integrated communications approach including event management, radio advertising and media relations. In 2019, Franco assumed responsibility for The Salvation Army’s social media channels, allowing further integration.
Communicate the need for donations and reach the next generation of supporters during the Radiothon’s expanded 24-hour format, from a new venue in Downtown Detroit to achieve the 2019 fundraising goal of $1.4 million.
Galvanize Sponsors, Volunteers and Media
As part of The Salvation Army’s social media content strategy for the Radiothon, our team developed a social media toolkit to engage sponsors, volunteers and media guests onsite. The toolkit provided social media handles, event hashtags, donation information and other key messages, along with recommended posts for Facebook and Twitter, making it easy for visitors and volunteers to post and engage in The Salvation Army’s conversation online.
The toolkit was handed out at each phone bank station, so volunteers could post on their personal social media channels and engage their networks during downtime on the phones. The Salvation Army’s social media handles and event-related hashtags were also provided to media guests like WXYZ-TV Channel 7’s morning duo Alicia Smith and Ann Marie LaFlamme. Their posts were some of the highest performing during the Radiothon, receiving steady engagement throughout the day from their dedicated southeast Michigan fanbases, and were retweeted by the official WXYZ-TV Twitter account.
The Salvation Army’s main event hashtag #BedAndBread was trending nationally on Twitter the morning of the event. The hashtag continued to trend locally throughout the day thanks to tweets and retweets from well-known Detroit-based journalists Rochelle Riley and Mitch Albom, as well as local Detroit TV anchors.
Advise on Fundraising and Message Strategy for Pre-Event Donations
When an anonymous $16,000 donation was made to The Salvation Army’s Bed & Bread program prior to the event, the Franco team provided guidance on leveraging the donation as a match during the overnight hours of the Radiothon. The Franco team worked with WJR to draft messaging for 30 second spots running overnight prior to the live portion of the Radiothon. Messaging included impact stories from individuals helped by the Bed & Bread program and the opportunity for donors to double their dollars with the match opportunity. Messaging related to the match were also incorporated throughout social media and digital advertising in the overnight hours of the Radiothon.
Search and display digital advertising, along with social media advertising, were implemented for The Salvation Army to support volunteer recruitment, promote visits to the new Radiothon venue in Downtown Detroit and encourage donations leading up to and during the event.
More than $17,000 was brought in through online donations in the overnight hours of the Radiothon, which meant the live portion of the Radiothon began with more than $34,000 on the tote board. Donations through paid advertising on social media and Google accounted for more than 16 percent of those initial donations.
In total, the 32nd Bed & Bread Club Radiothon, presented by Ford Motor Company Fund, raised more than $1.5 million to provide meals and shelter to those in need throughout metro Detroit.